132 comments

  • “Stewart said Sandals no longer manages properties under lease.”

    So what is the arrangement with ABV? Government will buy it , knock it down and rebuild it and give it to Butch Stewart to run? What do you call that? Fleecing?

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  • I will raise the questions again, because many of the supposed ‘experts’ still are unable or unwilling to answer.

    1) When do the stated concessions come into effective?

    2) What actual Dollar value is being invested by the Sandals companies at this time to obtain these concessions.

    Last time I calculated the contribution of our small hotels, most of which are locally owned and funded with either indigenous or imported investment there were around 110 properties totalling roughly 2,300 rooms. In our own case every single cent was brought into Barbados from overseas and we have to obtain Central Bank approval to re-export original purchase price and any capital gain, in our case over the last 25 years. Contrary to popular believe. apart from a reduced rate of land tax and very, very few ‘duty-free’ operational/improvement items, we have NOT received a single cent from any Government and the current administration stiill owes us tens of thousands of Dollars of unpaid VAT and NIS refunds (some for nearly four years).
    As already stated, I fully support the introduction of Sandals, but at what cost to the people who have already invested hundreds of millions in property, plant,etc.
    Has Government really thought through the implications in offering these concessions without any proven and stated intention by ‘Sandals’ of the investment THEY are going to make. Does anyone realistically expect that potential investors will now be queuing up to invest in a destination, where once again the administration has turned into a unlevel playing field?
    Just think about it for a few minutes.

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  • millertheanunnaki

    @ Adrian Loveridge | November 10, 2013 at 4:36 AM |
    “Does anyone realistically expect that potential investors will now be queuing up to invest in a destination, where once again the administration has turned into a unlevel playing field?”

    Unless the concessions granted in the letter to Sandals are made available to all players/investors- current and potential- the uneven playing field created would spell disaster for the sector if not for the entire industry.

    On the face of it, the letter records the action of a desperately mad administration practising real PARO economics to stave off a pending Devaluation in an inexorably fast deteriorating forex situation. This administration has basically run out of imaginative solutions to prop up the mass tourism end of the industry.

    The question has to be asked is if the food, alcohol and beverages consumed by guests and customers would attract the new VAT rate of 7.5% or would only Sandals guests be exempt from the payment of VAT?
    Would a local (resident) customer be able to go to the Hilton for Xmas lunch and pay the 7.5% or would he or she be faced with a 17.5% rate of VAT? Must the customer be a registered guest from overseas to qualify for the new rate of VAT?

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  • @Enuff…….. ac …redundant……………………..Pity u can,t say the same for the BLP after being shown the door since 2008 look at dat sometimes being redunant is a good thing. ask .OSA .

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  • Hello Barbados we at Sandals come to your beautiful country with love and mutual respect for each and every Barbadian.This we have done in every Caribbean Territory we have had the privilege to operate. Our record we present as evidence of our unwavering support and commitment to you the people and your magical country Barbados.
    Can we ask that you judge us based on our record, on the word of our staff scattered across the Caribbean, the people in the various countries we have had the privilege of partnering with promoting their beautiful countries to our mutual advantage, and success, giving more to the visitor than they had expected.

    Barbados, the word from us to you is love.

    Don Smith
    Sandals Resorts International

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  • are-we-there-yet?

    I’m very surprised that there have been no follow up comments to the posts by Ruffin at 1.07 am and Islandgal246 at 3.58 and 4.02 am last night. In his post Ruffin sought to show that Sandals inexorably brought increased airlift, giving the example of the Sandals Exuma Emerald Bay resort which apparently attracted some new important airlines soon after it was established in 2010. IslandGal’s post demolished that position and showed that in just about 3 years the Exuma resort was actually tottering and could only survive if it got massive injections from the Bahamas Government.

    Reading the tea leaves, that situation suggests that perhaps the Barbados Government did not do an adequate due diligence on Sandal’s current situation and might indeed have been tricked. It is clear that Sandal’s vaunted ability to increase airlift, as evidenced by the Exuma resort, was a big selling card for Sandal’s successful incursions here as seen in AC’s and Ruffin’s comments and by AC’s history of having several insider “facts” about the workings of the Government. That it has apparently not worked in Exuma might suggest some interesting possibilities re. the urgency and outcomes of the Sandal’s Barbados negotiations and the extent of the incentives given.

    It would seem that both parties needed the agreements but one party held all the cards.

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  • Are we there yet….thank you! Ruffian likes to talk a whole lotta cat shit!
    As I asked if Scandals no longer lease properties what is the arrangement for ABV? If they are not buying it isn’t that leasing or fleecing?

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  • Don Smith

    Your PR intervention will not give comfort to most Barbadians. Quite frankly, most Bajans do not trust Butch Stewart. The record on which we will judge Sandals is that of Paradise Beach Hotel, and I am afraid that you will have to do a lot more than write about love for us to gain confidence in Sandals.

    >

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  • Barbadians ought to wish, hope and pray that the Sandals deal brings the promised hundred and thousand of visitors from the North American Continent to their country’s shores.
    They shall soon see if Sandals is so powerful marketing wise as to convince Americans and Canadians to visit Barbados instead of Cuba as Cuba awakens and opens her inviting doors to more Americans in attempts to reestablish her place in the Caribbean tourism market.
    One day coming very soon the American government will remove the foolish useless outdated irrelevant embargo against its citizens visiting, residing and investing in Cuba as the Castro era draws to an end and a new day of ‘enlightened’ Communism with a capitalist face emerges in that once American playground for the rich and famous.

    As that day fast approaches and America- with its rapidly expanding Latino communities- looks inward and closer to home it would no longer be seen as that big bad bully to its puny harmless neigbour just off its appendage of the Florida keys.

    Does any one know if Sandals has or plans to have a presence in Cuba?

    Maybe Don Smith of Sandals Resorts International can answer.

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  • are-we-there-yet? | November 10, 2013 at 8:48 PM

    “Reading the tea leaves, that situation suggests that perhaps the Barbados Government did not do an adequate due diligence on Sandal’s current situation and might indeed have been tricked.”

    Adequate due diligence? How about any due diligence.

    You do not need the FBI or INTERPOL. A simple Google search would turn up the Exuma story and lots of other red flags.

    Like

  • NATION
    SUN, NOVEMBER 10, 2013 – 12:06 AM
    “Government has commended businessman Ralph “Bizzy” Williams for putting Barbados first and pressing ahead with expansion in these difficult economic times.

    Speaking at the official opening of Williams Towers at Warrens, St Michael, on Friday evening, Minister of the Environment and Drainage Dr Denis Lowe described Williams Industries as being persistent and a shining example in forging ahead with its development and expansion agenda.
    He also saluted Williams and his team for “continued business efforts to put Barbados first”.

    “They continue to build our country by contributing to the establishment of leading-edge employee best practices, by providing customer-friendly services, and assisting the country in achieving its ‘going green’ objectives,” Lowe said.

    In what was almost a replica of Williams’ opening address, Lowe described the $23 million five-storey “green building” as one that would provide “A” class accommodation for the expanded Ace H&B Hardware, Digicel and three offshore banks. (RJ)”

    DEM falling all over themselves to kiss Bizzy’s a.., even copying Bizzy’s self serving opening address for their speech.

    How Lowe can they go?

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  • Mr Don Smith
    Sandals Resorts International

    I am sure the vast majority of us involved in tourism sincerely welcome the Sandals barnd to Barbados and wish you well.
    1) In the name of acountability and transparency will Sandals (and its various companies) actually be purchasing Casuarina and if so what is the time line for
    this purchase?
    2) What is the Dollar value of Sandals (and its various companies) of your initial investment in Barbados?

    Thank You
    Adrian Loveridge
    Tourism MATTERS
    Barbados Business Authority

    Like

  • It’s ‘risky’
     

    By Tony Best | Mon, November 11, 2013 – 12:12 AM
    Government’s plans for Almond Beach and Casuarina hotels, rebranding them as Sandals, aren’t finding favour on Wall Street.
    Indeed, Moody’s Investor’s Service, a major credit rating firm, has branded the Freundel Stuart administration’s move as being “problematic”, warning about the risks involved for the economy. It is also concerned about the eventual overall cost and its implications for the rest of the tourism industry and the economy.
    “The indications we have seen so far, certainly the performance (of the economy) we have seen so far this year, has certainly been very disappointing,” said Aaron Freedman, a senior analyst of Moody’s, who monitors Barbados’ economy.
    “Perhaps, the most worrisome has been obviously the decline in foreign exchange reserves and the sharp decrease in foreign investment. Both of those things have gone hand in hand.
    “The Government has proposed some actions to try to address this. Some of them, I think, are more concrete. The more concrete ones, however, are more problematic. I am specifically referring, for instance, to the proposal to purchase the Almond property and rebrand and reopen it after a refurbishment,” Freedman told the DAILY NATION in an exclusive interview from his office on Wall Street.

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  • What a mealy mouth interview from the Moody’s man he reminds of the other go to economist clown for Bajan/Yankee reporter Tony Best one Charlie Skeete.

    What is GOB to do in the grim world wide economic circumstances? Twiddle their thumbs or take bold action in the interest of the citizens.

    Charlie Skeete supposedly a former Barbadian diplomat who lived the diplomatic high life off the taxpayers allegedly representing us is retired but continues living the sweet life in NY. It would be of interest to find out how he got the chance to reside in NY.

    Skeete goaded by Tony Best has forecasted the collapse of the Barbados economy since I was a Sixth former at Harrison College. The only decent thing to be said about Skeete is he predicted the collapse of the economy under the BLP and the DLP. I don’t believe anything Skeetse says. Neither am I convinced of the utterances from the mealy mouth Moody’s man Tony Best uncovered.

    I rather take my cue from former Prime Minister Erskine Sandiford a true Barbadian whose for love for his country is beyond question.

    Sandiford challenged IMF prescriptions and predictions more dire than the mealy mouth Moody’s man and WON!

    That’s where loyal Barbadians must draw inspiration from not from Bajan/Yankee Tony Best and his economist floozies.

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  • Ruffian yuh saying …”I rather take my cue from former Prime Minister Erskine Sandiford a true Barbadian whose for love for his country is beyond question. ” Sandy got full blown Alzheimers so follow him and see where he will lead you!

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  • Quiet word to the MowT, Barbadians comment on blogs and not Martians.

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  • You see David, these people so arrogant wid themselves that anybody who don’t see things their way is enemy.Well you know what who give a care….is we that put them there right? Plain and simple this admin is WAY OUTTA THEIR DEPTHS……excuses of global recession have worn thin now…so like true mice they scampering at every hole……whaloss IMF cat coming…

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  • @ Ruffin

    Hahaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!!
    Who are you trying to fool? One instance of an increase in airlift is not proof that Sandals increases airlift wherever it opens. In fact, any hotel, even Peach & Quiet, that your kind often belittles should bring about increased airlift with the construction of a FIVE HUNDRED ACRE FIVE STAR hotel on a 100 square mile island with an 18-hole golf course to boot. The Bahamas is also 40mins from Florida.

    I also pulled this extract from a news item about the difficulties, as IslandGirl highlighted earlier, being faced by the same hotel: “Among the problems faced by the resort in Exuma are high utility costs, airlift to the island and a lack of trained talent on the island..”

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  • Pingback: Minister Richard Sealy is a Pedigree JA | Barbados Underground

  • PLANTATION DEEDS FROM 1926 TO 2013 , MASSIVE FRAUD ,LAND TAX BILLS AND NO DEEDS OF BARBADOS, BLPand DLP=Massive Fruad
  • PLANTATION DEEDS FROM 1926 TO 2013 , MASSIVE FRAUD ,LAND TAX BILLS AND NO DEEDS OF BARBADOS, BLPand DLP=Massive Fruad

    David | November 9, 2013 at 12:38 PM |

    @ac

    Which sector do you think Barbados has had to rely in the last 30 years?@

    Land Fraud , by lawyers and BLP and NOW DLP on the backs of Violet Beckles and her family as they sell free land too sell land and do as they please ,, where no where else so far in the World is legal by any of English Law ,,
    Fraud is out side the LAW but can be seen by LAW and Fixed by Law ,,
    Good Luck Sandals , We hope your agreement with Crooks Liars and Scumbags is a clean and clear deal.

    Sandals DO YOUR HOME WORK FIRST , AND ANNOUNCE IT IN PUBLIC,

    Like

  • Sandals is a well respected brand worldwide not just in the Caribbean we come with a reputation for the passion we deliver first class service to our guests and a passion very evident in the manner in which we treat our team members, and those we come In contact with. Your criticism i have noted, but when all parties are not privy to all the facts suspicion will abound, We are finally here with you now whatever the reason before was to continue our reputation of being good corporate citizens in your beautiful and magical country Barbados. I am not on a PR campaign I am here because I believe and trust this mighty organization led by Butch Stewart of which I am proud to be associated with along with the12000 others of us across the CARIBBEAN and the world who call Sandals/Beaches our very own.
    We come to your country with love for the many Barbadians we already know and work with this worldwide award winning team.
    Barbados we come with open arms and hearts for after all is said and done we are still one people of the Caribbean.
    The word is love
    Don Smith

    Like

  • millertheanunnaki

    @ Donald Smith | November 13, 2013 at 6:55 PM |
    “Your criticism i have noted, but when all parties are not privy to all the facts suspicion will abound,…”

    So why don’t you allay the fears and suspicions of the naively simple uninformed Bajans and tell us was is the estimated size of the financial outlay planned for Sandals Barbados (Casuarina at Dover)? How much would the upgrade and makeover cost and would it be coming from Sandals? Is it US $5 million, $25 million, $50 million, $100 million or what?

    As it stands, it looks as if Barbados is being taken for a ride at the expense of your existing competitor hotels giving Sandals an unfair advantage and head start especially in the areas of food and drink supplied to the hotel.
    Would you agree Donald, a fair minded man of love?

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  • Mr. Smith

    I wish you and Sandals all the best. I was merely trying to give you an honest assessment of the local environment. Sandals might have an international reputation but you have a job on your hands trying to repair that reputation in order to get locals on board.

    >

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  • Caswell Franklyn | November 13, 2013 at 8:30 PM |
    you have a job on your hands trying to repair that reputation in order to get locals on board.
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    Caswell which locals? You don’t speak for me you poor excuse for a trade unionist. I’ve got a large family none buy into the garbage the likes of you ,miller and ADRIAN spill on here. What locals on board what.

    The Sandals move is a master stroke. ITS brought freshness and global reach to a product plagued with mustiness and old fogies AND their run down premises like Peach and Quiet. Now that is a tired hotel if you want to see one.

    The hoteliers need to start listening to the market and not themselves. Nobody wants to hear a bunch of gripers and chronic complainers year in year out. Get up off yall rich asses and invest. Travel and promote. Stop being cheap trying to milk the government of every cent. Be like Butch get creative. Stop the negative outlook and things would turn around. Paul Doyle is a good example to follow Adrian Loveridge and a lot of the local hotel owners are not.

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  • Should I comment on this, certainly not, this is a comment among locals which we have no business with, our job is to employ and train people, offer excellent service, treat our team members well, expand our brand making all our team members proud, and grow the local Barbadian economy.
    The word is love.

    Don Smith
    Sandals Resorts Int.

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  • “this is a comment among locals which we have no business with,”

    So who exactly is Sandals going to employ? What many here are asking for is transparency by both the government and Sandals regarding their business arrangement. As long as our tax dollars are being used to fund this project we have a right to know.

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  • @Donald Smith

    Hope you are not being patronizing.

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  • @ David
    Oh!
    ….so now you can’t tell when white people laughing at we…?

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  • Death Sentence to Local ownership of the Tourism Industry in Barbados

    While the humble, honest Barbadian makes his way to work early every morning and comes back tired, yet happy after a long day’s work, he is unknowing of a serious potential threat to his lifestyle that demands immediate attention.

    Other than the Civil Service, the tourism sector is by far the largest employer in Barbados, generating the majority of foreign exchange used by local businesses to purchase goods and services abroad.

    For several years the Barbados Hotel and Tourism Association (BHTA) has been relentlessly pleading with the government to lower duties on certain items that would ease the cost of doing business in such a competitive industry (after all it is one of the only industries in Barbados that competes internationally, not domestically and imports foreign exchange). The reasons for this are due to such harsh competition with islands such as Aruba, Dominican Republic etc it is very hard to compete price-wise when we are being taxed on goods and services, which attract little or no duties in other destinations. This is detrimental to the Barbados economy as a whole, and when the economy is affected- every single person in Barbados is affected. There is less foreign capital flowing into the economy thereby hindering growth. Therefore, in due course, the BHTA formulated a conservative ten-point plan which they expected the Barbados government would grant them. The downturn in the economy placed Barbados in the top ten countries in debt in the world with public debt at 102.1% of GDP. As a result, many people hoped Mr. Sinclair, Minister of Finance would grant these duty and tax cuts. Unfortunately, all hopes were dashed after the budget was announced in September. The only thing Mr. Sinclair did for the hotel industry apart from returning VAT to 7.5% from 8.5%, was to lower duty on heavy cream from 160% to 40%, a slap in the face to the people who have been so eagerly fighting to survive in such a tough global economy. Heavy cream is used minimally in hotels and the overall saving would be infinitesimal to the industry. Meanwhile duties on wooden furniture which must be imported continue at 60% plus VAT. To protect whom? The hotels have to be furnished attractively enough to compete in a global market and many items are simply not available here.

    Obviously, when companies suffer in Barbados, so too do the locals working hard for their lifestyle. People are laid off, companies shut down, increasing unemployment rates; and crime and theft increase- making life hard for everyone. (We do not aspire to live in conditions such as Jamaica and Trinidad).

    This is where we introduce the problem. Recently Sandals struck a deal with the Barbados government and was invited into Barbados and given a large list of concessions including: no duty or tax on any item used for building and OPERATING the hotel including all Food & Beverages, watercraft and cars for senior management. Even duty free furniture for foreign managers’ homes. It is rumored that no tax on profits and no land tax is also included.
    These concessions were granted and signed off in a matter of days by the Barbados government to a FOREIGN company. How did this occur? Without the details we are left to speculate the many possibilities.

    Is Sandals good for Barbados?
    Conditionally it is – they have plenty of marketing power and ability to bring tourists to the island.(Although an icon such as Rihanna has a much broader reach young future visitors and has put Barbados on the map)-but most certainly not beneficial under these conditions, where local competitiveness is extinguished. Therefore the ONLY WAY Sandals is beneficial to Barbados, is if all hotels are playing on a level playing field with the rest of Barbados, after all the Sandals chain already has more spending power than any hotel in Barbados!

    Let me be clear- Sandals Resorts Ltd IS NOT the problem. The concessions granted to Sandals are NOT the problem. The problem is that we are promoting self-destruction of LOCAL businesses by making it IMPOSSIBLE for them to compete, not only in the Caribbean, but in our OWN country! Local businesses CANNOT survive if we have to play with one hand tied behind our back! Does this mean that tomorrow all businesses in Barbados will go bankrupt? No, but it means a long, slow and painful death for ALL local businesses competing in the tourism sector- which is the major driver of the economy! Furthermore, the 150 work permits we are told have been granted to Sandals means 150 foreigners coming and taking Bajan jobs. These kind of grants have never occurred in the HISTORY of Barbados or to the writers knowledge in any sector, far less the tourism sector.

    What next? Once concessions are granted to a huge international chain like Sandals, they (the Barbados government) have no grounds on which to reject any other large hotel chain that decides to enter our country or for that matter any other large tourism related company? Where is the line and where does this bloody rollercoaster ride end? The way it is going – the future may very well end up in the hands of foreign billionaires, taking the occasional trip over in their private jets to see how their empire is going. These people will not care intimately about Barbados the way we locals do. They won’t treasure what we treasure and they won’t care. They will be seeking new ways to make bigger year end profits. This is unlike local Bajan owners who care for our island. (This is not pointing a finger at Sandals. Simply pointing out where we may be heading.)

    What steps does the Barbados Government need to take to soften the matter and put Bajan hearts at ease? They need to give ALL these concessions to ALL local hotel businesses. This will invigorate and promote local growth from within, keeping our jobs and profits LOCAL.

    We as a people have been very conservative in relation to political matters in the past. This is a time when we ALL need to take a stand for the people of Barbados, for our jobs, our families and our lifestyles. There is NO line we shouldn’t be willing to cross. We DESERVE these concessions and we DESERVE a level playing field. Being relentless in our demand is the only way we will achieve justice for the Barbadian people.

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